Traditionally, the drum represents the heartbeat and they have been used for generations to celebrate all aspects of life. In the African culture, they are more than a tool for entertainment. They accompany religious rituals, they can cause trances, they are used during ceremonies of birth, death and marriage… Music is considered in Africa a form of art, and as such, it must be correctly spoken.
There are a wide variety of drums used in Africa, there are a few drums that are extremely common and easy to purchase outside of Africa. The majority of African drums are hand drums, which are drums that you play with your hands instead of a stick or other striking instrument. This is a Djembe, the most well-known African drum around the world. It has a narrow base that opens up into a rounded bowl near the top. The top of the bowl is covered by a goatskin though synthetic materials are also used today. The drum is very loud, allowing it to be heard clearly as a solo instrument over a large percussion ensemble. The Malinké people say that a skilled drummer is one who “can make the djembe talk”, meaning that the player can tell an emotional story. There is general agreement that the origin of the djembe is associated with the Mandinka caste of blacksmiths, known as Numu.